“I’m in a sales slump and in serious jeopardy of falling too far behind to hit my annual sales quota. What should I do?”
This is a problem all sales people run into at some point in their career. And if you’re a straight commissioned, or heavily commissioned (low base salary) salesperson, the amount of pressure you feel during a sales slump can be extremely overwhelming.
I’ve been there. To the point where I felt like I couldn’t breathe. And if you have a family to feed, the pressure is compounded 100 fold.
When this happens, sales people have two choices:
- Blame others (leads are bad; economy is slow/no one is buying; our pricing is too high; our competitors have a better product, etc.)
- Attack the problem
I prefer Option #2. But to succeed, you’ll need a game plan.
Here’s the one I found to work for me:
1. Believe there is a way out
You have to believe that “this too shall pass” — but it won’t happen if you sit around or continue to do (or NOT do) what led you here in the first place. You’re going to need to make some changes, but know this: If you do, you will climb to the top of the mountain again. You can be victorious.
2. Stop trying to close deals
One job I had as a straight commissioned sales person paid weekly. Next week’s paycheck was based on what you sold this week. Driving to work on a Friday morning and having nothing on the board and little to no pipeline is not something I wish on my worst enemy. Especially if you have others at home that rely on you to provide for them.
It’s easy to lose focus of the customer’s needs and to only focus on yourself needing to close a deal. But you have to resist and push away your own problems and focus on your prospect’s issues at hand. And that also means turning a deal down if it isn’t the right fit for your prospect.
When you stop trying to “close deals” and start focusing on helping your prospects, all of a sudden that tense, untrustworthy tone in your voice that you didn’t even realize was there disappears, and all of a sudden you start having real conversations with prospects.
It’s an old saying and it’s easier to say than it is to do, but if you want to get what you want, you have to put the needs of others first.
To put this into practice, each sales call you make, before you pick up the phone, have the mindset of calling to see how you might be able to “help” them.
That will help keep your focus where it needs to be while taking the tension you feel out of your voice.
3. Get back to basics
One math fact in sales is: Skill + Production = Results. Chances are, you let your production slip over the past few weeks or even months and this is why you are in the situation you’re in — and now you are desperately trying to get out of it and that desperation is coming through loud and clear over the phone. Using the tips above will help you have the right frame of mind and tone of voice — now it’s time to get to work.
Start making more dials and fewer excuses. Sure, maybe your skill set could use some fresh new sales techniques — but you didn’t forget how to sell overnight.
Implement the three basic steps above to get back on the right path and start making some progress.
Top sales people truly only have a major sales slump happen to them once. The best of the best learn from their mistakes and work to ensure it never happens again. So climb your way out, one sales call at a time and never look back.
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